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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Anthropology (ANTH)

ANTH 220 (GA;GH;IL) Anthropology and Art/ifacts (3) This coure examines anthropological approaches to the study of art works, their production, and function in diverse human societies, both past and present.

ANTH 220 Anthropology and Art/ifacts (3)
(GA;GH;IL)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.


This course examines the ways in which the discipline of anthropology has used art and artistic production as an interpretive lens, as a means to understand past human action, cultural behaviors and ancient societies as a whole. To take up this topic, the course is divided into five distinct units allowing a thematic and comparative analysis of a variety of human societies. We will critique the conceptual divide between “art” and “artifact,” focusing on long-standing assumptions about philosophies of aesthetics, derived primarily from early modern European (Renaissance) notions of “art.” Geographically, the course content has a global reach, but primarily focuses on the artistic production of the Americas, Africa and Oceania, challenging the label of 'primitive' that has historically been applied by modern Western approaches. During the course of the term, we will conduct analyses aimed at elucidating how scholars have used the interpretation of art objects to better understand the complexity of human experience, specifically in regards to categories such as gender, kinship, social hierarchy and cosmology. Each class meeting will consist of a lecture and also a discussion component, primarily focusing on the assigned readings to ensure complete comprehension and relevancy. Students will be evaluated on essays and exams. This course will satisfy general education requirements and provide a base for other courses in anthropology, art history, museum studies and history.


General Education: GA;GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures and Humanities
Effective: Summer 2012

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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